Does a Blog help with your vacation rental business???
Good afternoon all MyVR Peeps;
Today I am sitting at my desk this windy, chilly and partially rainy Friday working on keyword, seo, etc updates for our website www.cinnamonbeachhouse.com.
As I am doing research on how to rank higher in search engine (SEO) I am seeing several suggestions that writing a blog post once or twice a month can be beneficial for ranking higher. With everything else such as maintenance, updates, responding to inquiries, rental agreements, etc. - I just don't know if I can find the time to sit and research, write, post a blog a few times per month...so I would appreciate any feedback that any of you fellow MyVR users might share.
How many of you have a blog? How often do you post new material? Do you try and keep word count to a specific size or do you write as needed. Is this something your guests appreciate (do you get positive feedback)? Do you believe that it helps guests in decision process and/or do you believe that it helps your page ranking?
Also, what topics do you find helpful to write/post about? Do you find posts about upcoming local events, best places to eat in area, local attractions, etc receive more response than other topics???
Lastly for those of you that believe an active blog program is beneficial - do you use the MyVR blog feature or do you prefer to use some other platform? If other platform(s), which do you prefer???
Any other info you'd care to share in this regard would be welcomed and appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Hey John - the quick answer is that content creation on your site (including blog posts or just new pages added to your site in general) can help drive more organic search traffic to your site.
You mention the time investment compared to the possible return - it's hard to say exactly what that might look like, but it's fair to say it takes a lot of time to create great useful in-depth content for your website. And, the rankings can take time to come and earn that organic traffic. So nothing here is too quick if I'm being honest. Content creation today can help you months/years later however.
Now, if you decide to work on your overall organic search straetgy, topic ideas we find almost always do well:
- Events/area things happening that your guests are looking for before they book
- Guides/your tips on key things like attractions, things to do, dining, reviews of a specific attraction, beach info, ect
- Resource pages like "the best kayak rental companies" or tips like "pet-friendly beaches near X" ect can do well
I place SEO efforts into four buckets - technical (your site itself and the underlying HTML code that runs it), keyword research (researching what info guests are looking for), content creation (new pages/posts about those topics) and link building (other sites referencing your site). All are key to earn more organic traffic.
Thanks for the reply.
I agree that ranking higher depends on multiple fronts. Up to about two (2) yeas ago my website was almost always ranking on page 1 or 2 on Google. Today that same website is ranking on page 7, 8 or deeper.
Last year just over 50% of our bookings came directly from our website rather than the listing sites - good news I think...BUT...being on page 7 or deeper is making it harder and harder to be seen by prospective guests and my booking this year thus far are trailing year-over-year for the first time in 5+ years.
Owning only one rental property, my advertising budget is limited and I am hesitant to enter the PPC game as the AirBnB's, HomeAway's, VRBO's, etc can spend millions. So I am looking for more "organic" methods to try and improve our page ranking.
Thank you for your input on this subject and I would be grateful for any additional input/suggestions that you and others might have.
One thought I had (not sure it would help much) would be to work with fellow MyVR users and back-link with each others websites. I did this a few years ago with several European vacation property owners and created a web-page for other properties/destinations I could recommend and I think it DID help all of us to some degree. Link: https://www.cinnamonbeachhouse.com/worldwidevacationrentalsbyowners/
Don't know how many MyVR's would be interested. Would love your professional opinion on this idea.
@John-Hughes - I would actually recommend against the back-link option unless it were a "natural" placement. For example if your villa has x bedrooms but you had a link on your site to a colleagues villa with Y bedrooms that you suggest would be more suitable. Simple back-links between different folks are viewed dimly by google and may eventually cause them to ding your web site ranking because of it. I think the short answer is that context of the back - link is also king.
You always hear, "content is King", but it needs to be relevant content. Conrad's guidance is spot on.
Just gonna enter a two cents here and say that the PPC game does not have to be in direct competition with the OTA's -- it's all about picking keywords that reflect what you offer but are not TOO popular. I can't do "Branson vacation rentals" but I can do "Branson condos with indoor pool." Just something to consider. I actually am a blogger IRL and it does take time to develop organic search placement, and it's not only about writing something and throwing it out there. You gotta include appropriate images (that can't just be copied from somewhere else cuz copyright is a thing), you must choose a search term and use it appropriately, it must be the appropriate length, divided into easily read paragraphs... the list goes on. Then there's social media marketing of said blog post, which also factors into whether Google will show it or not. DEFINITELY more time than it's worth, imho, for the vacation rental business. People aren't reading blog posts to find out where to stay; they're reading them to plan their activities, which generally comes AFTER they've already reserved something. I think the PPC game will give you more bang for your investment (because the time of blogging is worth something, too, so why not spend the money rather than the time) if you can find even just a few keywords that resonate. It takes trial and error but the right combo can really make a difference. #fwiw --Ann